Although marketing strategies are becoming increasingly dependent on online promotion, 67% of B2B content marketers still consider event marketing to be one of the most effective ways to build notoriety and drive sales.

Expos, trade shows and exhibitions are an excellent way to promote products and reach new customers and clients. Through a process of testing and refinement, looking at metrics, you can improve your online marketing. So, how can you do this in the real world, how can you improve audience engagement at exhibitions and events?

Small talk leads to big talk

People are overloaded with information about a number of different products and services at business expos. While it may seem logical to try and sell to as many people as possible, subtle techniques often work better. Sometimes direct or pushy sales practices can alienate people and even make them avoid your stall. Taking the time to get to know potential customers will make you stand out above your competitors.

A recent survey found that 57% of people would be more encouraged to make a purchase from someone that doesn’t apply pressure or make them feel hassled. So instead of leading with information about your product or service, it’s best to try to level with your audience. Be it offering them a coffee or asking about their day, small talk will naturally lead into business talk. If not, you can note their lack of interest and politely move on.

It can also be beneficial to use personal business cards or email addresses, so that people can put a face to your company name. This is especially useful if you have uncovered specific solutions that your business could provide. If potential customers can contact you directly and save time explaining their requirements to someone else, they will feel like they are getting a higher level of customer service.

Business expo

Use freebies to start a conversation

Many companies use free promotional products to entice customers and secure sales, and it works. An article by the Journal of Marketing found that people talk about products 20% more if they received them for free. But giving away something more useful than your competitors is a fantastic way to get people to return and it will also improve the quality of initial interaction.

For example, many people will be giving away business cards, brochures, badges etc. But audiences may have nowhere to put them, so branded tote bags are a great place to start. It is also an excellent idea to serve beverages, as the refreshment stands provided by the venue may be expensive, crowded or on short supply.

Visuals and examples are essential

People will be more attentive and find it easier to retain information if you include infographics, informational videos and conceptual designs (you can use counter displays to attractively present your materials, products, or freebies). Even if the subject matter or product doesn’t lend itself to visual presentations and engaging imagery, it is important to illustrate your ideas.

Research on The Use of Visualization in the Communication of Business Strategies revealed that people who are exposed to graphic representations pay more attention than non-visual versions of the same information. They also are more likely to agree with and recall information better when it is accompanied by visuals.

Augmented reality is fun and interactive

Augmented reality uses technology to bring graphics that would normally be confined to video games and television screens into real-world environments. This new technology blurs the lines between virtual reality and the technology we use everyday to provide multi-dimensional sensory experiences.

According to Skyline Whitespace, Augmented Reality will improve your exhibiting experience by allowing you to connect with your target audience on a more immersive level.

Powerful brand experiences and memorable activities will ensure that people from all over the exhibition will pay you a visit”

This is just one example of creative ways to improve your your interactions. But displaying new technologies are definitely worth considering, because they will organically attract more people to your stand.

Build a mailing list for follow-up communications

Follow-ups from this sort of event are essential, because you already know this audience is interested, relevant and potentially local. Collecting emails at an exhibition stand is a foolproof way to ensure you’re targeting the right demographic

Including pictures and videos of the event will instantly help people to recall their interaction with your exhibition, and will give you the chance to re-introduce them to your brand.

You can also gain valuable data from a list of email addresses by using a mailing list company to source businesses, phone numbers and addresses. This could help you to build your network and reach more potential customers.